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‘Treatment of atrial fibrillation can improve cognitive functions’
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.07.22 15:12
  • Updated 2019.07.22 15:12
  • comments 0

Researchers at Severance Hospital have found that the treatment of heart diseases can prevent not only stroke but also dementia, one of the biggest threats in the times of population aging.

From left, Professors Park Hui-nam, Kim Tae-hoon and Jin Moo-Nyun

The team, led by Professors Jin Moo-Nyun, Kim Tae-hoon and Park Hui-nam, confirmed such a conclusion after analyzing the cognitive functions of two atrial fibrillation patient groups – 308 patients who underwent an electrode catheter ablation and 50 patients who received drug therapy.

Afterward, the team conducted a Montreal cognitive assessment (MoCA) to measure the mild cognitive impairment of the patients three times -- before treatment, three months after treatment, and one year after treatment.

The study found that cognitive functions such as memorization and cognition improved in the patient group that underwent electrode catheter ablation --a surgery method which locates the area that causes atrial fibrillation and removes it with the high-frequency current -- compared to the other that received drug treatment. Notably, short-term memory and vocabulary scores significantly increased in the former group.

The researchers conducted the study to develop a process to prevent and treat dementia in patients with atrial fibrillation.

“Patients who underwent electrode catheter ablation seemed to regain a normal heart rhythm than a chemical therapy group, while effectively inhibiting thrombus formation, and providing smooth cerebral blood flow,” Professor Kim said.

The study was picked as an “editor’s choice” research in the latest issue of the journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.


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